Swing Away Golf
|a game by||T&E Soft|
|Editor Rating:||7.3/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Swing Away Golf takes a page from Mario Golf (GBC) by integrating regular golf action with RPG elements. Choosing the right caddy is as important as a good tee-off shot. These unique 44 bag-tote rs" help you unlock courses, offer advice and act as guides throughout your journey from amateur to professional golfer. Originally released in Japan as Paradise Golf, this lighthearted, T&E-developed title features seven cartoony characters, six caddies and six courses (initially). To answer the question on everyone's mind--yes it plays much like Mario and Hot Shots Golf (that's great news). Don't let the silly look fool you however, there's a good amount of sim in this fall release golf/RPG hybrid. Story mode offers the most heft with emphasis on challenges, equipment upgrades and character interaction. General play features a whole lot of adjustability be it stance, spin, cut and a number of other modifiers.
An in-depth create-a-course option lets you select course type, pars, hole shape, elevation and more. It looks like EA has a winner on its hands.
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Quite a bit of time passed between the original PlayStation launch (September '95) and the release of the first fun golf game (Hot Shots Golf, April '98). That won't be the case for PlayStation 2 owners, however, as Swing Away Golf mimics the Hot Shots formula with some success. Whimsical characters and a cartoonish look give the game a light feel, but underneath lies a deep game of golf. There are a number of shots to master and success depends on coming to grips with some of the intricacies of the sport. For instance, did you know that moving your front foot toward the ball will help induce a draw? Swing Away knows it, and allows you to adjust such minute details. If you're intimidated, don't be, as the game brings you along the learning curve with a well-designed tutorial. The course generator is a cool idea which falls short of its potential. You suggest parameters for a hole, such as par 3, dogleg, lots of water, and the game randomly generates it. Kind of a hands-off approach, if you will. The real fun in the game rests in the Story mode, where you work through imaginary calendar years to progress from Amateur to Pro. Along the way, you'll meet the various characters in the game, earn points for winning, and buy fancy new equipment. The game's only real drawback is the pace of play, as load times between shots and holes get to be a bit much. Still, it's a small price to pay for a solid game.
Hot Shots Golf it isn't, but it's not too far off. Idon't think it's possible to make a more obnoxiously cute game that involves steel clubs and a small, white ball than Swing Away on the PS2. Pastel colors, cute anime-style players, pre-pubescent voices, and melodramatic reaction shots may turn off serious golf players, but it shouldn't. The game is challenging and the graphics are great, save a few minor choppy animations and camera pans here and there. There aren't that many play modes (like Skins, Fourplay), but there is a course editor, and a really cool Story Mode that adds tons of depth to this pleasantly fun golf game.
I couldn't wait to get my hands on the first golf game for PS2, and was especially excited about SAG because of its resemblance to the now classic Hot Shots series for PS. While there's no question that it sports absolutely beautiful eye-candy and brings courses alive with amazing detail, I'm a little bummed out to report that the feel of the game doesn't stack up. I found the delay between taking my swing and watching the onscreen follow-through detached me from the game and left me feeling like I was coaching a player instead of being the player. Putting is also unacceptably stiff as my ball appeared to stop abruptly instead of trickling to a stop.